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Trump administration suing California to block net neutrality laws

Lawsuit filed hours after Golden State passed most extensive new ruling on internet freedom

The Department of Justice has taken legal action against the state of California after the local governor signed legislation to reinstate net neutrality.

The Washington Post reports California introduced the new rules yesterday, making it the largest state to adopt its own net neutrality laws, which ensures broadband internet is regulated as a utility.

This prevents internet service providers from throttling, slowing or speeding up certain websites or services based on paid partnerships with companies. ISPs would also have more freedom to adjust their charges, potentially meaning some customers would no longer be able to afford basic net access.

However, the lawsuit filing, found by TechCrunch, insists the Federal Communications Commission has classed internet access as an "information service" since 2002, and even as recently this year has made changes to ensure such access is "guided by a uniform set of federal rules, rather than a patchwork of state and local regulations."

In the filing, attorney general Jeff Sessions said: "Under the Constitution, states do not regulate interstate commerce - the federal government does. Once again the California legislature has enacted an extreme and illegal state law attempting to frustrate federal policy.

"The Justice Department should not have to spend valuable time and resources to file this suit today, but we have a duty to defend the prerogatives of the federal government and protect our Constitutional order. We will do so with vigor. We are confident we will prevail in this case - because the facts are on our side."

California's adoption of its own net neutrality laws is the latest in the ongoing clash over the regulations concerning the internet in the US. Net neutrality officially ended back in June, six months after the FCC decided to end it.

It's a decision that has been opposed by much of the games industry (as well as other sectors) - in fact, we wrote about the dangers it posed to the video games business back in November. Meanwhile, the ESA joined the fight against the death of net neutrality back in April, fighting alongside the likes of Facebook, Google and Amazon.

Both Oregon and Washington states have passed their own net neutrality laws, but these have been more limited than those of California. In fact, the Washington Post reports that its law is even stricter than the original approach introduced by the Obama administration back in 2015.

California is already fighting the Justice Department on another issue, having attempted to bypass the Trump administration's rulings over immigration and climate change.

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James Batchelor avatar
James Batchelor: James is Editor-in-Chief at, and has been a B2B journalist since 2006. He is author of The Best Non-Violent Video Games
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